Google Duplex is an AI-powered natural language processing technology that aims to automate many things that generally require human interaction. For example, if you want to book an appointment at a saloon or reserve a spot at a diner, Duplex can do that for you by calling and speaking to the business on your behalf, all while sounding and conversing quite naturally. It’s integrated into Google Assistant on Android devices, and soon, it will be able to add your name to restaurant waitlists.
As spotted by VentureBeat, Google appears to be testing a new feature that allows users to add themselves to waitlists at restaurants using Google Assistant. The feature rolled out for one VentureBeat reporter who was searching for restaurants in Google Maps. In their Google Search results, they saw a “Request to Join Waitlist” button under some restaurant listings. When they tapped on the button, it opened up a window asking them to set their party size (i.e., number of people) and choose how long they were willing to wait “in case the restaurant has an open waitlist.”
Images via VentureBeat
Once they were done and hit “Continue,” Google Assistant pulled their name and phone number tied to their Google Account and called the restaurant to add them to the waitlist. Google Assistant sends text updates about whether it was able to secure a spot at the restaurant.
For now, this feature appears to be part of a limited A/B test and hasn’t rolled out widely. When VentureBeat reached out to Google for a comment, a Google spokesperson said “[W]e’re constantly experimenting with new features that use Duplex technology and do not have a timeline on when [or] if this specific capability will be available to the broader Google Assistant users.”
Since its debut in 2018, Google Duplex has made some great progress, gaining features like letting users book haircut appointments and even helping Chrome users fix compromised passwords. Google Duplex was initially limited to the US, but over time it has expanded its presence to multiple markets, including the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Screenshots courtesy: VentureBeat